2019 Conference Summary

Green Lands Blue Waters 2019 Conference

*Click the titles to get the full slides for each topic*

Over, Under, Through to CLC
Strong partners, new allies, and fresh perspectives moving continuous living cover (CLC) farming forward.

The way we farm can be the solution to big challenges – climate, water, wildlife, vibrant rural communities.

Attendees at our previous GLBW conference dug deep into robust discussions, highlighting major barriers to increasing CLC across the agricultural landscape: markets and economic drivers, policy, research and information gaps, systems factors, and the most mentioned hurdle: mindset and message — human inertia stuck in the status quo.

Farming now faces new norms with chaotic weather, economic uncertainty, social divisions, and increasing pressure to deliver both quality products and environmental benefits. Collaborative solutions are more important than ever, and the benefits of continuous living cover farming go way beyond the farm gate.

At this year’s conference, learn how grounded champions, who have worked for decades to change agricultural paradigms, are collaborating with the next generation of agricultural leaders and new allies in creative partnerships to break (or not break) new ground, keeping our soil and our communities rooted as we endeavor to create a resilient agriculture. Plan to come away lifted by the voices of many determined allies moving this important work forward, together.

2019 Speaker Bios

Graduate Hotel, Minneapolis, MN

DAY 1: Tuesday, November 19 


Toward a resilient agriculture. The Vision is Easy: Are ”We” Willing?

  • Ricardo Salvador – Union of Concerned Scientists, Food & Environment Program Director and Senior Scientist
  • Given that a resilient agricultural system requires re-design of today’s practices and policies, it is important to first understand the circumstances that led to the present system. On the basis of historical and economic analysis, this meditation makes the case that the current system is above all a social enterprise that reflects the values and worldview of centuries past. To effectively create a system that improves on the present one, which extracts and concentrates wealth, it is therefore essential to acknowledge that the fundamental shift necessary is only secondarily about field practices, technology and markets, and primarily about social values and worldview.

Taking Stock.   

What are the data telling us about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going?

  • Steve Morse – Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Executive
How are we doing on State Nutrient Reduction Strategies?
What are we learning from the climate data?

Agroforestry as a Transformative Solution  to Address Complex Future Challenges

  • Sarah Lovell – University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, Director
  • Agroforestry has been promoted as a set of practices for integrating trees and
    shrubs with crops and/or livestock, often as small isolated plantings. But our
    precarious future requires a broad transformative landscape solution. We face
    unprecedented challenges to feed a growing population, protect our limited
    resources, and adapt to variable and extreme climate conditions. To address
    these challenges, the purposeful deployment of productive polyculture “systems”
    of trees and shrubs could first be accomplished on marginal lands and through
    early adopters. These agroforestry sites would later serve as the nodes of
    diffusion across the broader landscape, as policy and market drivers are forced
    to adjust to changing conditions.

Voices From the Farm, Reflecting Across Generations      

Lightning Talks     

Markets & Economic Drivers  for Continuous Living Cover

We all know that we won’t see Continuous Living Cover cropping systems on the
landscape without a strong market pull. Learn how consumers and companies
are driving market trends in the right direction, and hear updates on how
ecosystem service markets generally and carbon markets specifically show
promise as another way to financially incentivise farmers to adopt new crops and

Market Trends: Consumers & Companies Supporting Regenerative Ag
  • Kernza® as Food: How and Why the Food & Beverage Market is
    Supporting Intermediate Wheatgrass
Valuing Soil, Water and Climate:
Continuous Living Cover Strategies – Breakout Sessions
Cover Crops
Perennial Biomass
Perennial Forage
Perennial Grains
Silvopasture *3:45 early start time*

DAY 2: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Morning

Caring for the Ecosphere
Aubrey Streit Krug – The Land Institute, Director of Ecospheric Studies

Allies for CLC Breakout Sessions

  • We heard from teams of partners from many sectors and perspectives coming
    together to create change on the landscape. Who are the partners? How did
    these partners find each other to begin with? What was the glue that made the
    partnerships stick? Did any initial partners fall away? What have some of the
    challenges been in bringing different perspectives together? We got new tips, tools
    and inspiration with candid assessments of what makes these partnerships tick
    and how they’re ultimately getting traction on the ground. 
Grasslands 2.0
Ingredients for Healthy Soil Partnership
Performance Based Conservation: A Pilot-Study in the Milwaukee River Basin
Target Drinking Water: Partnerships for a Diversified Agricultural Landscape

Allies Changing Systems:      
A Small Scale Agricultural Model Transforming Land, Water, Production

  • The establishment of the Main Street Project farm outside of Northfield, MN, is a hopeful example of how the vision of a perennial production system can be embraced, supported, and realized with the help of other system actors and enthusiastic, consequential partners in transforming the landscape. Learn about the three-year transition of a conventional row crop operation on 100 acres to a collaborative project with three landowners and Dakota County to restore site hydrology, introduce perennial vegetation, and implement a regenerative agricultural operation.


Thank you to our conference sponsors!

Mississippi Basin Sponsor:


Forever Green is composed of teams of researchers, farmers, food product developers, and entrepreneurs from all aspects of the agricultural supply chain whose goal is to develop and promote the use of new crops that enhance water and soil quality. Each of the new agricultural enterprises require a unique strategy for implementation. The Forever Green team is focused on ensuring that these enterprises strengthen Minnesota’s economy while protecting water, soil, and other natural resources. Partners include: Green Lands Blue Waters; University of Minnesota Extension; Center for Integrated Natural Resources & Agricultural Management; Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; USDA Agricultural Research Services.

Landscape Sponsors:


Farm Sponsor:




Field Sponsors:

Acre Sponsors:


Sustainable Farming Association logo


In Kind Sponsors: